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WMG Assistant Professor joins Micromobility Research Fund

Roger WoodmanWMG Assistant Professor of Human Factors, Roger Woodman, has been selected to join the Micromobility Research Fund set up by the Ford-owned e-scooter firm Spin.

Roger is one of only 12 academics selected to join the panel made up of experts from ten leading UK and US universities and industry. Together they will study various safety aspects of e-scooter use as well as rider behaviour, and the challenges and opportunities of the integration within a city’s road systems and existing public transport networks.

Roger Woodman explains: "Ultimately, the point of introducing e-scooter schemes is to advance our society and to bring a greater benefit to all, not just to the e-scooter riders and the service providers but to all who live in our towns and cities. Just as with many new services, this will require ongoing reflection and review from everyone, including the general public and stakeholders and the path may not always be straightforward. I’m confident that building a strong body of independent research will allow policy makers, e-scooter advocates, as well as sceptics, to advance the dialogue and put forward legislation that best supports everyone.”

Josh Johnson, Public Policy Manager at Spin, adds: “The willingness to share independent research and learnings about the adoption of e-scooters with key stakeholders has become less of a priority for operators and this needs to change. Spin is committed to improving and advancing micromobility policy frameworks globally in the markets we operate in. These studies will give everyone fresh and actionable insights. We look forward to sharing best practices with stakeholders in the UK and beyond around how to best integrate e-scooters into local transport networks while maximising safety of all road users and provide communities with a green, fun and socially-distanced way to travel.”

Safe travel behaviour will be at the centre of research topics and will build on Spin's solid research-based policy work developed in the US over the past two years.

Josh adds: “Our top priority has always been rider safety. All operators have a responsibility to their riders to not only exceed vehicle safety standards but provide a platform to educate riders on safety best practices and how to be mindful of pedestrians and other road users.”

Preparation for the first piece of research is under way in Milton Keynes. This study will explore factors that influence road-user safety including:

● Where do e-scooter users ride most often (cycle lane, roadway, pavement) and why?

● How often do safety incidents occur, and what are common factors?

● What factors or conditions (i.e. cycling infrastructure, weather, traffic volume, etc…) impact real or perceived safety of e-scooters for users and for non-users?

The study will be informed by a diverse set of data sources including qualitative and quantitative consumer survey data and on-street AI and IoT sensor data of e-scooter interactions with pedestrians, cyclists and cars captured by Vivacity Lab’s sensors that are installed in the city. The researchers will also have access to anonymised e-scooter movement data (GPS).

Vivacity’s roadside sensors employ machine learning algorithms to detect near-miss incidents and are able to analyse movement patterns of vulnerable road-users such as cyclists and pedestrians, as well as non-connected vehicles. Such data will be invaluable to assess why near-misses may happen and what could be possibly done to minimise them. All data shared by the sensors is anonymised with video feeds discarded at source, enabling safer roads without intruding on privacy.

The research may include outputs such as a mapping of “safe routes” based on riding patterns and user feedback, and recommendations on how local authorities and operators could encourage riders towards a safer use of e-scooters. Recommendations may also include infrastructure improvements or other policy changes to enhance roadway safety for all users.

Find out more about WMG’s Human Factors research here.

 


Autonomous pods SWARM together like bees in world first demonstration

SWARM Autonomous pods born in Coventry are now able to swarm together in a world first, thanks to research by WMG at the University of Warwick in partnership with Aurrigo and Milton Keynes council.

With the concept of driverless pods now more realistic than futuristic, the vehicles are one step closer to being put to use, as they can now help each other to drive and navigate through pedestrian areas around people.

The concept of Swarming pods was well received by the public, with the ultimate idea of using an app to hail a pod, or a platoon of pods if travelling in a group, seen as the next evolution of personal and public transport.

The pods are designed for pedestrian areas and shared spaces, so public transport can be used on highways and the pods can be used as a “first and last mile service”.

Researchers at WMG integrated Swarm intelligence into the Pods by implementing swarming skills typically used by birds and insects.

The success of ‘swarming’ means that Pods can now schedule themselves to form a ‘platoon’, following each other when possible, to minimise the number of individual vehicle movements and the need for a supervisor per pod. In the future, it’s expected that a supervisor can watch several pods and report any unexpected behaviour.

The technology also enables the Pods, working within a fleet, to automatically optimise their behaviour to meet future passenger demand by distributing themselves within a city to the areas where they will most likely be requested.

Dr Roger Woodman, Associate Professor in human factors at WMG at the University of Warwick said:SWARM

“The SWARM algorithm has been tested and is proven to be effective and reliable. The ability to make pods ‘swarm’ together like a group of bees or birds, means they can coordinate with each other, bringing them one step closer to our streets.”

Simon Brewerton, Chief Technology Officer at Aurrigo, continued:

“The collaborative SWARM algorithms have been developed to enable our autonomous vehicles to optimise their own trip schedules, so they deliver the optimum efficiency from a fleet of vehicles.

“The swarming technology is very exciting and has the potential to operate large fleets of remotely supervised autonomous vehicles in a safe and scalable way. Interest in this will be huge.”

ENDS

30 JANUARY 2020

NOTES TO EDITORS

About WMG, University of Warwick

WMG is a world leading research and education group, transforming organisations and driving innovation through a unique combination of collaborative research and development, and pioneering education programmes.

As an international role model for successful partnerships between academia and the private and public sectors, WMG develops advancements nationally and globally, in applied science, technology and engineering, to deliver real impact to economic growth, society and the environment.

WMG’s education programmes focus on lifelong learning of the brightest talent, from the WMG Academies for Young Engineers, degree apprenticeships, undergraduate and postgraduate, through to professional programmes.

An academic department of the University of Warwick, and a centre for the HVM Catapult, WMG was founded by the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 to help reinvigorate UK manufacturing and improve competitiveness through innovation and skills development.

 

About Aurrigo

Aurrigo, which created ten new jobs over the last twelve months, has seen demand for its driverless pods soar following the successful completion of major trials in the UK and across the world proved that its technology can deliver safe and efficient ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions.

Sales have come from customers in Australia, Canada, Finland, Singapore and the US, with the latest deal seeing one of its ‘Pod Zeros’ heading to China, a potential landmark moment for the Coventry-based business.
This growth takes its annual sales up to £4.2m and, with a strong pipeline of future orders in place, the company is predicting a further £6m of contracts between now and the end of 2020.

High-res images available credit to WMG, University of Warwick at: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/communications/medialibrary/images/january2020/xt2a0013.jpg

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

 

Thu 30 Jan 2020, 12:25 | Tags: NAIC Partnerships Research Human Factors